Multi-scale 3D printing of nanomaterials using liquid crystals

Supervisory team: Dr. Ali Jalili, Dr. Dorna Esrafilzadeh and Prof. Rose Amal


The emergence of 3D printing promises a disruption in the design and on-demand fabrication of smart structures in applications ranging from functional devices to human organs. However, the scale at which 3D printing excels is within macro and micro-levels, primarily lacking the spatial ordering of building blocks at nano-level, which is the principle of high-performance multi-functional entities. This project investigates a fundamentally new concept as 'multi-scale 3D printing', bridging the gap between the nano and micro-scales in a single-step 3D printing. The printing ink will be formulated from binary mixtures of colloidal liquid crystals and nanomaterials. Then, the self-assembly power of liquid crystals will be exploited to impart the fine-tuning required for the design-freedom of architecturally complex systems at the nanoscale with intricate patterns within 3D printed constructs.

Multiscale 3D printing of nanomaterials

The host of this project, Particles and Catalysis Research Group (PARTCAT), is a leading (photo(electro)) catalysis research group within the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). The student will have access to a state-of-the-art high-resolution 3D printer that can print a vast range of nanomaterials, polymers, hydrogels and catalysts.

Suitable for:

This laboratory-based project has a cross-disciplinary nature that links chemistry, chemical engineering, and additive manufacturing technology. It is suitable for candidates with a background in chemical engineering, materials engineering, mechanical engineering, physics, or chemistry.


Level of difficulty: Average

For more information please contact Dr. Ali Jalili at